The History of Tunnel Creek

For 14 seasons in the 1950s and 60s, fans watched the adventures of Pa, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe on the popular TV series, Bonanza. The fictional Cartwright family lived on the Ponderosa Ranch at Lake Tahoe, and parts of Bonanza were filmed on its shores. Scenes of the ranch house (interior and exterior) were shot on a soundstage in Hollywood.

In 1967, Tahoe contractor Bill Anderson, approached NBC and the show's producers with a proposal to build a replica of the famed Cartwright Ranch house in Incline Village. Anderson's Ponderosa western-themed tourist attraction opened in 1967, just steps from what is now Tunnel Creek Lodge.

While no episodes of the original TV series were ever actually filmed at the popular tourist attraction, the stables of Tunnel Creek Lodge did at times house the Cartwright horses for on-location shoots. The cast also visited the property frequently during the show's hey day for publicity jaunts. Years later, Bonanza: The Next Generation (1988) and Bonanza: The Return (1993) were both shot in and around the surrounding property.

While thousands passed through the nearby gates of the Ponderosa Ranch annually, few knew that behind a locked gate, just up the road, sat the private home Anderson carefully crafted to house his family. Some years later, in 1999, his son choose to build his own luxury log cabin on a corner of the property with the most breathtaking Lake views. That home is now Tunnel Creek Lodge. Will you be among the few to experience this gem in the wilderness first hand?